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performing arts school


evejbar

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My dd is 13 years old. I want her to audition for the dance program at a local magnet school. She doesn't want to audtion for a place. She attends a dance studio and is part of a ballet company. She would continue to take classes at the studio. Should I insiste she try out or should I allow her to continue on the same track that she is on now.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, evejbar. :)

 

I don't think that you should insist she try out for something she does not want to do, but I would certainly want to know why she doesn't want to do it. Perhaps the school's program is not up to par with her current training and she feels like it would be a waste of time, or, maybe she just does not want to do so many hours of dance if she feels that she has enough at her studio. The reasons that she doesn't want to do it should be considered before ruling it out, but I don't think that insisting is a great idea, as teenagers will rebel if they are pushed into doing something that they really do not want to do or do not believe is good for them.

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Rather odd that a "magnet school" program would compete with independent training. They're not supposed to do that!

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Ditto to everything Ms. Leigh said. In addition to telling us why she doesn't want to audition, it would help to spell out the reasons you want her to. We might be able to help you address your concerns better.

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DD says she just doesn't want to audition and I am pushing her to do something she doesn't think will want to do as a career. She wanted to be a professional dancer until one of the girls at the company started saying negative comments about her and her dance. Plus severla of the dancers started taking private lessons, which she wants to do, but it just isn't in our budget. She once said that the dance instructor doesn't think she can learn the routines and do the dance. I feel she has low self esteem and a change might help her. Let me add that the schools don't go out into the community or surrounding area and recruit. She is currently homeschooled and we are looking to place in a high school environmment part time next year. I thought a dance program would benefit.

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It might, if it's a good program, but not unless she likes it and wants to do it. Sounds to me like she is being overly influenced by other students. Private lessons should not be necessary if they are getting the quality and quantity of classes needed. Is she is a pre-professional school for ballet? How many ballet classes a week does she have, and how long are the classes? Is she on pointe? Does she have pointe classes following her technique classes? I'm a bit concerned with your use of the term "routines" and also "do the dance". Is it possible that she is in a competition school?

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Unless it's like in Evan Almighty:

 

God: And the eleventh commandment is...thou shalt do the dance!

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My DD graduated from a public arts school as a dance major and was accepted into several college programs. Most of the years ahead of her students from the school have been accepted into companies. There are many excellent arts schools in the country but there are probably some that are not so good. I think you have to carefully research the different school to see if they fit with your and your daughters goals and desire, because like everything in life there are compromises. If your DD is not wanting to audition, you probably need to explore why- fear, not the right style, ...

We always had to balance DD's anxiety with auditioning, which made her very negative, with allowing her to figure out if this was really part of her path. We did not offer DD "extra" that we could not afford, such as private lessons, but did try to attend to her fears and anxities.

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As a practical matter, Evejbar, it's your daughter who is the one who would be walking into that room and doing the audition. You can sign her up, drive her there, walk with her to the door ... but what happens in that room is entirely up to her. And if she truly does not want to attend that school, she won't audition well.

 

It sounds like it's time for an honest talk between you two. Why do you want her to go to this school? What alternatives are available? Which is her first choice? How do academics factor in? Is dance becoming less important to your daughter? (That happens a lot at this age; it's one of the "dropping out" points as kids begin to assess their true desires and also honestly assess their prospects.) Does she not want to attend this school, or is she scared of the audition itself and maybe not getting accepted? What are the primary factors she would like to consider in choosing a school?

 

I totally get your frustration. This is a delicate stage in life where parents still need to call lots of the shots, but kids are increasingly wanting to -- and able to -- voice a strong opinion. Which is totally developmentally appropriate! If she is your oldest, you probably aren't quiet ready for it, but it's work she has to do to get ready for adulthood.

 

Coming back to the practical side of things, the desire to chase after a dream is an absolutely necessary attribute for succeeding in the dance world. If she's not convinced this is what she wants to do -- HAS to do -- I say count your blessings and run the other way! Okay, I'm being a bit facetious but truly, it has to come from within her. Unless you have some compelling reason you want her to attend this particular school next year, or some compelling reason she has to do the audition this year (say, they only accept new students into the freshman class), AND you can explain them in a way that seems reasonable to your daughter, I vote for giving it a pass. At the very least, propose a deal: she auditions so she can see if she likes the school, but AFTER the audition (and tours of the school, if possible) you will listen carefully to her concerns and fears and then decide TOGETHER if this is the right fit for her.

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Thank you all for your words of wisdom. DD is in a regional classical ballet company. They perform twice each season.

She takes two technique classess, each 1.5 hrs; 1 1-hr pointe class, jazz, modern, and tap--each 1 hour. Some Pointe work is included in the technique classes, not sure how much. The dancers that are getting the more, mmmm can I say complex/demanding roles, are the ones taking the private classes via the studio. I don't think she is being challenged and so her interest is waning.(She still dances from room to room at home) DD enjoys going to classess. I tend to think her reason for not wanting to audition is fear/anxiety. My thoughts are to overcome that fear is to do it...and though one may not truly conquer the fear, the fear can be tamed. I don't want her to settle. But of course you are right; this is something that must come from inside. What should I say to her?

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Unless it's like in Evan Almighty:

 

God: And the eleventh commandment is...thou shalt do the dance!

 

So are you saying I am being too strict and demanding. :)

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LOL, I can attest to the 'you can sign her up, drive her there, and walk with her to the door", but what happens in the room is all her. :)

 

I once insisted that DD audition for a Youth Orchestra, believing with parental all-knowing wisdom, that when she was accepted into the Orchestra, her love of playing the oboe would return and she'd thank me when she was an adult. She had been an exceptional oboe student and was losing interest as her changing teachers were less inspiring and her school orchestra was not challenging at the entry levels. I just knew that if she had the opportunity to play with this Youth Orchestra (very well-respected and challenging), her interest in the oboe would revive.

 

HA! She went kicking and screaming (well, not literally) to the audition that had been a bit tedious to set up. I could hear her from the other room. Um? Talk about embarrassing! I believe she played better at her first lesson!! She came out quite pleased with herself for having gotten the best of me on that one. Obviously, she did not get the invitation and I learned a big, big lesson. That experience switched my tune to hers when it came to lobbying her dad to approve her desire to drop her oboe lessons, orchestra at school and focus more on dance.

 

It is THEIR dreams, desires, interests, and life. We had our go and can continue with our own interests in our own way. But, we have no right to force theirs when it comes to extracurricular and life-long interests. Academics, preparation, yes. Specific paths, no.

 

There are other ways to teach the same lessons (i.e., fear/anxiety). Perhaps ask her to do the audition---because it won't matter whether she gets in or not to you. Tell her it is a chance to see what it is like without feeling she has it all on the line.

 

Is she willing to do SI auditions? If so, then it may not be the auditioning itself that bothers her, but something about that school (like she has no interest) that is causing her balk.

 

As for her dance school, hmmmm, I think I might start looking for an alternative. Too many suggestions of red flags for me. The appearance of private lesson favoritism, the 'need' for private lessons, etc.

 

Best wishes.

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No, I'm saying that Morgan Freeman is a helluva good actor and a nice guy. (I worked with him in Glory) and that Evan was a fun movie.

 

I think you both need to become more informed about what the larger world of ballet looks like.

 

You're here. That's a GREAT start. Let's keep communicating, and we'll help you all we can.

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As for her dance school, hmmmm, I think I might start looking for an alternative. Too many suggestions of red flags for me. The appearance of private lesson favoritism, the 'need' for private lessons, etc.

 

I second the above! Two ballet classes a week not enough to be on pointe. And the private lesson thing is definitely a big red flag!

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Perhaps she is worried about rejection? I always think it is better to have options--she can always turn down the school if she is accepted. On the other hand, she might like it!

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